Newcastle United ‘make appointment’ with agent to discuss £30m January deal as Barcelona join race

The midfielder is in demand after rising to prominence over the last year.

Reports in Brazil have suggested Barcelona are making a push to beat Newcastle United to the signing of Vasco da Gama wonderkid Andrey Santos.

The 18-year-old midfielder has been repeatedly linked with a move to Tyneside over the last two months and the Magpies are said to have watched him in action throughout that period.  The youngster is enjoying a promising season with the second-tier side, scoring 10 goals in 38 appearances as his reputation across Europe continues to grow.

Several clubs are believed to be monitoring his progress ahead of the January transfer window and 90Min recently reported Newcastle have ‘indicated’ they are willing to offer Vasco around £30m to part with their prized asset and make him the third Brazilian player in Eddie Howe’s squad.

However, Brazilian outlet Torcedores have reported La Liga giants Barcelona have put together a recruitment team to force a deal through, with sporting director Jordi Cruyff and Andre Cury - a Barca representative in South America - both trying to reach ‘a magic number’ with Vasco and Santos’ representatives.

Intriguingly, the report also suggests Newcastle have ‘made an appointment’ with businessman Giuliano Bertolucci, who represents the midfielder and has reportedly been made responsible for negotiating with clubs in Europe.   Barca are trying to persuade Vasco to agree to a structured financial deal that would allow the Santos to remain at the club for the remainder of the season, before moving to the Camp Nou next summer.

However, Vasco’s insistence on receiving any transfer fee up front could work in Newcastle’s favour as they look to add another young talent to their squad.